UK diplomat says Pakistan seen as long-term strategic partner

Tuesday, Jul 19,2011, 6:01:33 PM

Deputy high commissioner and UK Trade and Investment Director Francis Campbell on Monday [18 July] said the British government was committed to a long-term, productive and friendly partnership with Pakistan.

Speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry [LCCI] here, he said the UK viewed Pakistan as a long-term strategic partner and would continue to support all its endeavour aimed at expansion of bilateral trade relations. He also discussed in detail available investment opportunities and exploration of new avenues for investment with the LCCI members. He said the UK government was seeing a better economic and investment outlook in Pakistan and encouraging its companies to make more investment here.

He pointed out the British entrepreneurs working in Pakistan were looking forward to opportunities to further increase their operations by expanding existing projects and exploring new avenues for investment. It is a big opportunity for Pakistani businessmen to initiate joint ventures with their UK counterparts, he added.

Campbell said that a good number of UK companies were keen to invest in Pakistan in different sectors, while the British government was motivating its businesspeople to make investment in Pakistan.

While calling for concrete steps to enhance diversified strategic partnership between the two countries, SAARC [South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation] Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice-President Iftikhar Ali Malik said that fostering relations with the UK is a cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy since it views the United Kingdom as an important member of G8, the EU [European Union], and a partner in the Commonwealth.

He said the volume of total two-way trade can easily surpass 2bn dollars if some other avenues of trade are explored with joint efforts on both sides.

Malik said the UK is known to have expertise in agriculture sciences that provides specific insight and technologies into sub-fields like crop genetics, sustainable pest and disease management, seed and plant sciences, composts and synthetic soils, etc. "We need your technical help and guidance to make the most of our available agriculture resources and also develop much required agriculture-industry linkage," he maintained.

He said that Pakistan has a great potential in mines and minerals development as important minerals found in Pakistan are iron ores, limestone, chromite, silver, gold, gems stones, marble, copper, graphite, etc. He urged British investors to explore the untapped potential of this sector, which would result in a win-win situation for all. The UK has gone one step ahead from industrial textiles through mastering in technical textiles, which describes the growing variety of products and manufacturing techniques for technical properties and performance. Being dependent on textiles sector which directly and indirectly engages almost two thirds of Pakistan's resources, he said, transfer of UK technology to Pakistan would be of great help. Other sectors include medical technologies, with special focus on industrial biotechnology and science parks, he added. Moreover, he said the UK was successfully implementing very advanced systems in education and banking sectors. Therefore, joint ventures could be a good option to develop these sectors on modern lines in Pakistan. Former LCCI Presidents Mian Anjum Nisar and Mian Muzaffar Ali and other office-bearers and conveners of LCCI standing committees Mian Zahid Javaid and Rehmatullah Javaid also spoke.

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